Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Oak Leaf Blues Continued
Explanation of Oak Leaf raking is here.

Last week ended with several days of very strong winds making raking impossible. The wind delivered more sticks to pick up and blew oak leaves into previously raked areas.

The wind might have been forgiven if it had delivered the rain the gloomy sky kept promising.

The trees are on the verge of leafing out. Perennials are emerging from the ground. One good rain and lower Michigan is going to be green again.

Picture of hosta leaf buds
Watch Your Step
Everything is above ground now. Most of the plants are just showing their leaf sprouts, like the hostas in this picture.

Violet Acres has hundreds of hostas. They are shade loving, do well in our sandy soil, and the hummingbirds love them.

In some of the thickly wooded areas, we grow them in place of grass. Of course the wooded areas are the same areas where I'm raking oak leaves.

I'm trying not to panic as I see plants poking their new leaves through unraked oak leaves. As I rake the brown oak leaves onto the tarp, I'm seeing pieces of green where I've accidently ripped off a new spring leaf.

Any tendency to perfectionism has to be ignored. I just keep raking as carefully as possible and with care about where I'm stepping.

Picture of epimedium in bloom
By the road in the center of the front yard is a big old oak tree. Underneath, thriving in the dry and shady soil, is a large patch of epimedium groundcover. The little yellow flowers emerge in the spring before the new leaves. They rise on delicate stems above last year's foliage.

In a few days, the new epimedium leaves emerge and cover the flowers, making a very pretty and effective groundcover in a place where it's difficult to grow anything.

An effective groundcover is one that is thick enough to prevent weeds growing through it.

Because the old leaves don't die down in the winter, they work as a trap for the oak leaves. In order not to hurt the flowers, I pick oak leaves out of the epimedium patch by hand. Sigh. Nothing is perfect.

Each year I wonder what would happen if I mowed this patch down in the fall so I could rake it? By fall, I've completely forgotten about trying it.

Picture of primulas
Primulas in the Oak Leaves
These are the same plants that were pictured in the April 12 post. They don't seem to mind at all that they are going to be among the last to be raked out of the oak leaves. They just keep growing and blooming.

Once I get the gardens cleared out and organized, I want to plant more of these.

Picture of first blooming violets in April
First Violets of Spring
When I'm weeding, I always try to leave the violet seedlings so Violet Acres will have more violets each year.

The violets are easy to grow. We've reached critical mass where they are seeding themselves all over the property. A gardener who wanted a tidy patch or a violet free lawn would hate them.

We have white violets and blue violets. The blue are my favorite.

Note on Blogger Idol Week 14
This weeks theme is 'Spirituality'.

I spent a lot of time yesterday writing my entry. When it was done, I didn't like it.

I seem to be unable to write about spirituality without sounding full of myself. I think I'm just going to skip this week.

There will still be a Top 5 list toward the end of the week.